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When it comes to the world of sports, there many groupings and sectors of fans. You have the diehard, the casual, the “I don’t follow teams, I follow my favorite player”, the postseason, the undecided, and of course, the bandwagon type of fans. Regardless of where you see yourself aligning, one thing is for certain, basketball for many is a way of life. Numerous fans will come together on and off the court, to support their favorite teams. For those who are on the outside looking in, they often will ask “Why are you allowing yourself to become some invested in a game? A game that has no impact on your life”. While although in some sense there is truth in that basketball is in fact just a game, for so many of us, it goes well beyond the confines of a gym or court.

When I am sitting at home on any given night, yelling at the television as if they can hear me calling out the high pick and to switch, or to watch the backside cut, I’m greatly in-tune with the fact my efforts to be the sixth-man will go unnoticed. So why do we love this game? Why do we wear and represent our teams seven days a week? Why do we defend our favorite players as if they were a family member? Why when they win do we feel such elation, but after a loss, feel the deep-rooted emotional setback? The answer is rather simple. It’s because we’re fans.

Basketball means something massively different to each of us. Some have a close bond as they have played since their youth, and are aspiring to be on that same court one day. For others, they marvel at what these larger than life athletes can achieve, and can only sit in awe as they watch. Speaking from personal experience, professional basketball has been that one constant in my life, and in a world that is ever changing, it has become my escape from the reality that is. I’ve been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember, and as young as I could formulate and retain what was happening before me. When you’re devoted to anything for that long, you develop a passion and connection so sincere and deep, that no one can pull you from that formulated allegiance.

My devotion to the sport and for my respective team, is one that has become an integral part of who I am. Now make no mistake, I can clearly separate the blurred lines between reality and perception, but a loss on night one, of an 82 game season, feels just as bad as a loss in a playoff series. Whether that is right or wrong, I’ve never paid much attention to. I’m a fan of the team and their success and constant devotion to becoming better. I see each night as an opportunity to grow and develop a potential championship caliber team. What makes me as a fan tick however, is hard work, grit, and all-out determination until the clock hits zero. Desire and effort in any language or culture, are universally understood.

Next time you’re sitting at home or even at the arena cheering on your team, take a second and reflect. Reflect why you are taking the time out of your life, and putting other priorities to the side to get lost for that 2-2.5 hours a night. You will have a different story, a different reason, a different passion than I do. And that in its simplest sense, is what makes this sport so great, and being a fan so special.

Written by: August Troccia II